Ah, guys...being hard on myself today. Feeling like I haven't been giving the blog enough love and need to get that feeling off of my chest (although I did just launch a podcast, so there's that).

I constantly preach consistency, but to be honest, ever since I took a few weeks off during the holidays, I've been totally scattered and just feeling not like myself when it comes to my business.

One of the things I know I have to work on getting better at is being more mindful with my time. As a fixator, I tend to start a project and it becomes all I eat, sleep and breath for the time being.

For example, earlier this week, I started designing the collage below on Photoshop, just playing around because I wanted some new graphics for my blog. 5 hours later, I was still "just playing around", and that time could have been spent so much more productively. But hindsight is 20/20, right?


You Don't Have to Be a Pro

What that project DID get me thinking of, however, is how passionate I am about graphic design (I am not the best, and I wouldn't even consider myself great) but I do know enough.

In today's post, I'm sharing some quick and easy tips with you for adding doodles to your photos and creating collages. If you're wanting to get your creative juices flowing but are feeling a bit nervous to tackle a project from scratch, I promise you'll feel better about it by the end of this post!

TIP 1:

Familiarize yourself with three Photoshop elements: the quick selection tool (allows you to isolate an image, like the photo of me sitting down in the collage), the brush tool (endless possibilities of textures and patterns to play with - the star border around my body and the "xo" were both done with the brush tool), and layers (what overlaps with what, and all that good stuff).

What I recommend if you're a total beginner: YouTube tutorials and practice.

This quick selection tutorial is a great tutorial and super in depth. It will teach you all about the quick selection tool and how to approach those not so easy selections!


graphic design tips

On to the brush tool! No, it's not just a boring paintbrush. There are so many things you can do with the brush tool, including textured lines, pattern stamps, and even confetti or sparkle effects.

The photos you see to the right were both simply created with the brush tool and a steady hand (I recommend doing your Photoshop designs at a desktop computer - makes it much easier).

I've put together a zip file containing all of my favorite Photoshop brushes that you can download here! To install a brush file, simply double click it. When you open Photoshop, click the drop down arrow next to your brush to see your new files!


graphic design tips
graphic design tips

TIP 2:

Balance out your elements. A beautifully designed collage is perfectly imperfect. I like to balance out my collages with a little bit of text (usually a quote or a short saying), photographic elements (pictures or single images like flowers or polaroids), patterns, textures and layers.

Pick a color theme! The cool part about design is that there really are no rules, but one tip I like to follow is to have a color theme for each of my collages. That doesn't mean everything has to be the same color - pick a palette that works together and work with shades and tones within that palette.

Need some inspo? Search "color schemes" on Pinterest!

TIP 3:

Speaking of Pinterest...use it for allll the inspo! You don't have to 'have an eye' to be able to think up something über creative. If you're struggling with where to start, head on over to Pinterest and search "graphic design collages". Better yet, come follow along with my Graphic Design board.

TIP 4:

For a simpler edit, skip Photoshop and save yourself time with easy editing apps! I made this simple star doodle entirely in an app. Some of my favorites are A Design Kit, Over, WordSwag and You Doodle. Of course, Unfold is my go-to for the borders and backgrounds like in my filmstrip photo above!

So...are you feeling ready to take on your next project? Did I ease your nerves a bit? Hope so! If you still have questions that I didn't answer in this post, leave them below! Would also love to know what type of graphic design video tutorials you'd love to see! 


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36 responses to “If Graphic Design Scares You…Read This”

  1. Victoria says:

    Thank you so much for this! I’ve been trying to figure this out for the longest time!

  2. Thank you for these tips! I would love to learn how to use Photoshop this year 🙂

    xo, Azanique | https://www.lotsofsass.com

  3. Caitlin says:

    I just love how you add so much spice and pizzazz to these photos

  4. Laura Leigh says:

    Absolutely loved this post gal! I second Ruthie – you are so creative. Impress me constantly!

    xo Laura Leigh

  5. Torey says:

    Thanks for sharing! I’m terrible at Photoshop but I do love those apps you mentioned! Also Canva

  6. Anna Kaitlyn Ashley says:

    Which photoshop app do you use and is it on your phone or a computer?

  7. Ruthie Ridley says:

    I am so impressed! You are such a creative!!

  8. Candace says:

    Totally in love!! I really like how it turned out.


  9. Stephanie says:

    Aaaaand THIS is one of the primary reasons I follow you – you actually SHARE how to do things. I have always admired your edits and designs and wondered how you accomplished them. Thank you so much for putting this post together.

  10. ashley hargrove says:

    You are seriously my absolute favorite! Your blog is perfection! Your photos are perfection! Teach me your ways! 😉

  11. Molly says:

    OMG I am so impressed!! I am obsessed with this!


  12. This article! YES! I just finished my first graphic design class and I loved every single thing about it. I’m having trouble doing stuff unguided on my own though, but this article has just helped me a ton. Love it girl!

  13. I am so obsessed! I love how you broke everything down! Don’t be too hard on yourself! I do it all the time but it’s about the bounce back not the actual break! Keep it up!

  14. Absolutely love this + subscribed to your newsletters, new posts and everything in between!!!

  15. Zoey says:

    The collage looks fab! I used to do collages all the time when I was back at uni – I might get back in to it this January while i’ve got some free time on my hands!

    Zoey | https://www.zoeyolivia.com

  16. Your graphics are SO amazing!! I love the idea of using Pinterest for inspiration! Thanks for the tips gal!!

    xo, Hillary | hillheady.com

  17. Cathy says:

    This is so good. I hardly know what to do in Photoshop. I’ll have to try this and play around. Thank you for the tips!!


    • Danielle says:

      I totally get that it can seem daunting, but what I’ve learned is that you don’t need to know EVERY too. Learn the ones that you need and want to use, and go from there! Much easier to build up your knowledge that way, otherwise it can be overwhelming 🙂

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